By Stefanie McGowan
And they overcame the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
I have a little one named Hannah.
She’s my Ebenezer, the sweetest reminder for me of God’s goodness and grace.
She reminds me of the power of prayer, and proof that God makes the impossible, possible.
Hannah is from the Hebrew name חַנָּה (Channah), meaning “God’s favour” or “grace.”
She’s the mother of the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament, a woman who trusted that God was who He said He was. Hannah was a woman who believed God, not just believed in God. She trusted that He was able when she cried out to him and asked the Lord for a baby when she couldn’t have children. She promised his whole life back to the Lord, and God’s grace covered Hannah. By His mercy, God showed favor over her, and gave Hannah the gift of Samuel- who eventually became prophet to kings. Hannah was a woman of big faith! A woman of prayer, and one who sought after God’s heart.
Three years ago, when infertility medicine was suggested to us, my husband and I were convicted big time by the Holy Spirit. “God is able,” we both kept thinking. Able to make the impossible possible. But my head bantered for control, while my gut said, “Be still and know that I Am God.”
So many awful things were happening for us at that time… things that made me feel broken. I wrestled with what I could and couldn’t control, uncomfortable with the unknown. Realizing, sometimes God tests and molds and moves us to the uncomfortable, to grow us and build on our weakness. “…For His power is made perfect in our weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) My weaknesses are wanting to be in control, wanting to strive for perfection, and be independent and have it all planned out. Ha! That’s an exhausting way to live and God knows that.
Instead, our Father says: “Rest in me.” and “I’m jealous for you...” I love you fiercely and want you to grow in deep dependence on me. Trust in me alone.
We were at a crossroad.
“It’s your decision,” my sweet husband said, after we’d prayed for several days.
Something in me said, “Only I can satisfy your hurt. Only I can meet your needs.”
The only thing that made sense, because of the power of the Holy Spirit, was to take the road that led to the cross and choose to trust God alone.
The banter subsided when I decided to let go and let God lead.
We said no to that infertility medicine and decided to lean into the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Maybe that meant not having a baby, but the Lord knew my heart’s desire.
His peace covered us, even in my brokenness.
In all the hurt and confusion of that dry and weary season, I went to the sanctuary like Hannah did. I got down on my knees and cried, and talked to Jesus all about it. I poured out all of me, to all of Him. At the foot of the cross, I begged God, and told him every detail of the hard things that were happening… and how I felt broken. I begged Him to heal those broken pieces and show me His glory. Scripture after scripture kept flooding my thoughts, reminding me of God’s faithfulness– and there I asked Him for a baby.
It was a dark next few days… of wondering and waiting.
I had no idea how God would meet us in the storm, but I knew He wouldn’t leave us broken. It’s just not who He is. Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, or the cross to the tomb, the Lord’s timing is perfect and His ways are better. His lovingkindness never fails, ever. And His mercy is new each day. Hallelujah for promises like that to stand on!
The odds were completely against us, but by God’s mercy, just three days later, we received the most incredible, impossible news of new life. We were going to have a baby!
God made what felt impossible, possible, and He grew my faith to praise His name. Our girl is two now. A healthy, happy toddler, who’s growing every day and lifts her hands in the car to worship music. She reads bible stories to her baby dolls, and she’ll tell me at random times, “Jesus is coming back, Mama.”
“Yes He is, Hannah,” I tell her in response, completely in awe that this girl belongs to the Lord, and is a gift, entrusted to me.
She reminds me to have big faith, to draw close to Jesus, and that he will draw close to us. (Jeremiah 29:13) She reminds me that miracles are real and that if we humble ourselves before the Father, he will lift us up. He heals our hurts. He binds our wounds. He delights in us, and rejoices over us with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) How can that be? That while we’re still sinning, He petitions on our behalf and makes us new by the blood of the Lamb. Yet, He does. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of new life!
Thank you, Father, that we get to pray impossible prayers.
That though the answers may be uncertain, we can be certain that you are good, always.
Thank you, that we don’t have to settle for what seems possible, or likely, or within our reach. But that we get you, Lord, who is bigger! Who is able, to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. (Ephesians 3:20) That the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power that lives in us. (Ephesians 1:19-20) And that you are enough for us, Lord!
The year is half over, and for these next six months of 2017, I pray, Lord willing, that we’ll be women who pray big, impossible prayers. Who beg God to show us His glory, with hungry hearts for more of Him, and less of us. That we’d be women who talk with Jesus often, asking with grateful hearts, that His will be done. That the Lord would make His thoughts our thoughts, and His ways our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) That like Hannah, we would grow deep faith, believing the Lord, pressing in to know Him, and make Him known.
Happy Summer, friends.
There is power in prayer!